So back to the budget. This time last year our budget was $180 every 2 weeks which included all food, toiletries, baby needs (diapers, etc), paper products, cleaners, medicines. It was a constant stress factor for me because we constantly went over. That included a baby, a toddler, 2 preschoolers, 1 adult for all meals, and 2 more adults for dinner. Josh ate breakfast and lunch at school and Jeremy ate at work. Then Jeremy started cooking breakfast (which means for the first time years we weren't eating just toast or oatmeal) when he started working from plus he is now home for lunch and prefers not to eat sandwiches everyday. And now since Josh is homeschooled he's here for all meals too. $180 every 2 weeks would be a joke if I tried to do that again.
I do have some food guidelines. We try to eat healthy most of the time. I buy mostly whole foods and cook from scratch.I try to stay away from packaged foods, preservatives, HFCS, and unhealthy oils. I don't buy many organic fruits or veggies. I just can't afford it and I would have to drive 40 minutes just to find organic. No farmers markets around my tiny town, just Wal mart and a couple of pathetic grocery stores. Our Wal mart doesn't even carry organic produce beyond the salad mixes. I do go to Costco a couple times a month so that helps. I do buy Kerrygold butter (and sometimes cheese) and organic chicken. We buy pastured beef from a friend and we buy free range eggs from the owners of the local pawn shop. I usually do one "big" meal, either lunch or dinner depending on when Jeremy will be home, and the other I do leftovers or something simple like pita pizzas, grilled cheese, grits and polish sausage, etc. I never cook more than one pound of meat per meal (unless its a roast) so it usually goes into a dish. I don't buy many packaged snacks. I do get a bag of kettle chips at Costco and lately a bag of kettle corn but that's usually it. Occasionally I will make a homemade snack like cookies or brownies but that is pretty rare because 2 of my kiddos aren't big on baked goods and I'm not big on sugar. Afternoon snacks are usually fruit, smoothies, kettle corn, oatmeal, or something else we find stuffed in the cupboard.
So if anyone is willing to share, I would love to hear how much you budget for groceries, how many you feed, and how you keep it all under control while still keeping it healthy. I'm not interested in living on Ramon noodle, Spam, and boxed Mac n cheese. : )